Greetings to you for this first week of Advent! I wanted to share some ideas on ways to brace for and embrace Christmas this year in this BC Catholic article, Creating Meaningful Traditions in the Midst of Grief & Uncertainty.
I’m overwhelmed about how beautiful the Infant Loss Mass was today. If you missed it or would like to experience it again, it can be found here. The Archbishop’s homily was touching and I found his heartfelt words of comfort were genuine. I feel blessed to have such solid support for Elizabeth Ministry from of the Archdiocese of Vancouver and am proud to be a part of this community.
Thank you to everyone that attended in person and online and thanks to those involved in making this Mass happen, I am truly grateful!
On Oct.15th, people around the world honoured infants who have died much too soon. A special remembrance service will be held and a candle will be lit for my own three babies. Will you join us?
Pregnancy and Infant Loss Mass with Archbishop Miller
2:00 PM – October 17, 2020
Evangelist Chapel at Gardens of Gethsemani
Join us online as we honour our little ones who have gone too soon. A special Mass will be live streamed, and candles lit in honour of those we have lost. Mass will be celebrated by Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB.
Register to attend online. If you cannot attend, you may still register and we will light a candle in remembrance of whom you have lost.
One of my children starts kindergarten this week. Am I ready to launch him into the vast world of elementary school by himself!? Yes, I do realize there is only one classroom per grade, but still…
This milestone is a significant one. I fully expect to be one of ‘those’ moms, crying in the car after drop off. We’ll see. I made sure the box of tissue in the car wasn’t empty and will have my sunglasses ready.
I think gradual entry is just as much for our children as it is for us. As first time kindergarten parents, we need to ease in. Tomorrow, I’m scheduled to leave him in the classroom for a short time, “don’t worry, I won’t be long and will pick you up again.” I asked him tonight if he was ok with me dropping him off and my confident five year old ended up being the one reassuring me. “It’s ok mommy, I like my new school. You can leave me at kindergarten ‘for longer’. I know my teachers now, they are all so nice! I won’t act silly.”
Three years ago, Keaton should have been the first one in the family to start kindergarten. I remember it was a wistful week for me, seeing the proud “1st day of kindergarten!” pictures and posts on social media – especially the families who were in the same prenatal class as we were. Our babies were born within weeks of one another and Keaton was the only one who didn’t make it.
Driving to work, I was keenly aware of passing the children on their way to school as I slowed down cautiously – below the 30 km speed limit – just to be extra safe. This is what I would have wanted drivers to do had my child been the one walking hand-in-hand with me, excited to go to kindergarten at his new school.
This article called, “The Ghost At The Classroom Door” was shared by another infant loss mom on Facebook today and I thought it was fitting; although I like to use the term “saint” instead. I’m sure our little saints love to accompany their siblings when they go to school…it is a comforting thought.
I love and miss you my sweet babies, pray your brother has a great time in kindergarten and enjoy that time together as I’m sure you will.
A great video to mother’s with an aching heart, you’re not alone on Mother’s Day…
I found this post of finding joy in sorrow and the struggle with infertility and thought it was appropriate as we celebrate this Lenten season. It is important to acknowledge how painful it might be for some families grieving the loss of their child during Easter time. I’m brought back to memories of my first post on Ash Wednesday six years ago and how far I’ve come in my journey towards healing.
Easter is our most precious gift and miracle, pain and sorrow turned into eternal joy. In my darkest days I clung onto the hope of being able to spend eternity with my all my children in heaven. When I felt like I could barely get through the day, I dared to dream what it would be like to hold them in my arms knowing I wouldn’t ever have to let them go…
A family member recently sent me an email message. She remembered Keaton’s birthday was coming up. I’m touched that she did…
“Are you doing ok with Keaton’s birthday coming up? Must be hard….”
This is a good question. It is really nice of you to ask, not many people do other than moms who have also lost babies. I’ve come a long way, the grief is no longer right in front of my face all the time – just for brief manageable moments. Counselling is a great outlet and I find that it is often some of the only times I can really let my emotions out. The other babyloss moms I’ve met through the ministry have been a wonderful support too.
I missed Keaton when we went to the elementary school to watch the school Christmas play. (Our 2nd will be attending the school soon and I thought it would be a good way to introduce him to it). When the primary kids sang/danced, it suddenly hit me that Keaton would/should have been up there. We should have been enjoying watching Keaton on the stage; his little brother should have been in the wings adoring his big brother, copying and wanting to be just like him; his baby sister should have been brought to Keaton’s classroom after the performance and showed off to all of Keaton’s friends and [my husband] and I would have had proud tears of joy watching our big boy dressed up as a lamb or angel.
Instead I fought off tears of sorrow wondering what our son would have been doing – and lost. I’m glad it was dark in the gym, people would have looked at me in a strange way. In many ways, I wouldn’t have cared. It would have been a relief to let someone know that I was missing my first born child.
When my nephew stood in our living room and sang ‘Away in a Manger’ on Christmas eve the family was so proud as he remembered all the words, I thought of Keaton then too.
It has been too long since we visited the cemetery. I feel guilty, yet I know Keaton understands. We were planning on visiting his gravesite Christmas day, something we’ve done every single year since he was born, but the children and I were too sick to go out. Rachel’s garden would have been decorated again this year, all decked out with poinsettias on the children’s plaques, candy canes lined up near the flower beds and bows in the trees. I hope the decorations are still up, we’ll go this weekend to visit him.
Am I doing ok? The short answer is yes.
Is it hard? With two other children to run after, it is easy to become distracted. When I get the rare moment and allow myself to express my love/grief, it becomes easier. It is hard to parent a child in heaven, there is a constant longing to know what Keaton is doing, what he looks like and what kind of beautiful soul he is.
What can be hard is going over in my mind the questions and events of what “could” and “should” have been done the the days, hours and minutes leading up to Keaton’s birth. Was there something I could have done to save him? Why was he taken from us? What would Keaton be like, what would our lives be like if our sweetie was here? There are no real answers, this is what can be difficult to reconcile.
Thank you L for asking, I feel very blessed to have you in my life!
It’s Father’s Day weekend. Woman can be great at being able to openly talk, cry, share and be supportive of one another after a loss. Sometimes, it can be much more difficult for father’s. There is a lot of pressure.
Fathers are expected to be the strong ones, the ones who are supposed to keep it all together. They are there to make sure that their wives have a shoulder to cry on, to pick up the pieces and keep the family afloat, are they not? “How is your wife doing?” people may ask. Expectations put on dads can be high.
The loss of a child can also greatly impact a marriage and has the potential to tear couples apart. I’ve heard from others and have experienced myself how grief can be expressed differently between moms and dads causing anger, misunderstanding and resentment. Hurting marriages can be restored through open communication, couples counselling and hard work. Weekend programs such as Retrouvaille can be a turning point if it has gotten to the point of wanting to separate.
Grief however, can also bring couples closer together. Take time to understand your partner’s point of view. Have honest discussions about how you might express your grief and how it may differ from your spouses way of coping.
How can we as moms support our partners? I’d like to share resources that are collected here on the Mothering Your Heart website.
Wishing you all a gentle Father’s Day weekend…